Yesterday’s result in the SA A vs Bulls game has left Springbok Head Coach Jacques Nienaber with more complications than answers as the first test against the British & Irish Lions looms.
Jake White’s Bulls managed to overturn a 14-0 deficit in the second half to snatch a 17-0 victory as the men in green looked on, somewhat dumbfounded.
It was a very different looking SA A side to the one which trounced the Lions last Wednesday, but they allowed themselves to be dominated by a fiery and determined Bulls outfit which owed much of its success to the wonderful abilities of flyhalf Johan Goosen who is back in South Africa after a long stint overseas.
“I wanted the guys to stake a say for selection for next week’s Test and unfortunately‚ not everyone did that‚ but I am not going to discuss individuals — any comments on them will be emotional‚ because we are hurting‚” Nienaber said, speaking to timeslive.co.za.
“As a team‚ the performance was not there‚ and I blame myself for that as well. The lack of dominance from our pack was not what we had expected. With the late confirmation of the game‚ we also did not do any analysis on the Bulls and that showed‚ while I did expect a better set-piece platform.
“As there were places up for grabs in the Test team‚ we will do a proper review.
“At the moment‚ we have two hookers out due to Covid-19 protocols (Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni)‚ and we needed to see what Joseph Dweba and Fez Mbatha can do.
“And another couple of players got some valuable game time — Damian (De Allende) played 60 minutes‚ Kwagga (Smith) 80‚ and Damian Willemse had another run at centre.
“We will look at physical readiness and consider Covid-19 protocols before we select our team and‚ in that regard‚ will be guided by our medical team.
“We will consider a number of factors before deciding to select players who have not played for the Boks in the last couple of years‚ like how long we have worked with them‚ their training stats and factors other like that.
“Some players who have been in our mix will slot back in more easily than others. But we will have a proper medical feedback session tomorrow so will make a call who will be in line for Test selection.
“We needed three games to get our ducks in a row before the Test series and we got that. The result was not what we had hoped for‚ but a number of questions were answered‚ especially with regards to the readiness of individual players and their readiness for selection.”
The first test kicks off in Cape Town next Saturday.